Lavender traded for Mavunga
The Sky on Friday traded injured forward Jantel Lavender and a second- and third-round draft picks in 2021 to the Fever for forward Stephanie Mavunga hours before the league’s 7 p.m. trade deadline.
Coming off her best season in four years, Lavender, whom the Sky acquired before last season, didn’t enter the wubble in Bradenton, Florida, last month after she had season-ending foot surgery in June. Since then, she has worked as an analyst for Sky game broadcasts. It’s unclear if this move will affect her broadcasting gig.
With Lavender unable to play and on an expiring contract, it made perfect sense for the Sky to go after a young player with a high upside such as Mavunga. The Sky (10-5), who have been riddled with injuries during this accelerated season, could use frontcourt depth.
Mavunga, whom the Fever drafted 14th overall in 2018, posted career-highs in points (5), rebounds (4) and minutes (11.8) in five games this season before a broken nose temporarily sidelined her. She left the wubble after her injury but has been cleared to play, the Sky said. She’s expected to return to the court after her quarantine period.
General manager James Wade said it was a difficult decision to let Lavender go, though he felt it was necessary.
“It’s a tough day for us, but we’ll feel good when Stephanie gets here,” Wade said in a statement. “These things are always bothersome, especially for a coach and especially in this day and time. When you are making decisions like these, you don’t make these decisions lightly, but we have to do what’s best for the players that are playing and it was obvious to us we had to have healthy bodies.” ✶